|Monday, Monday ...
I took up the GM reins again (after a four-year absence) because
it appeared no one was going to volunteer. A while after submitting
the GM form I heard that Don was asking if GMs wanted to have
an extra heat on Monday evening. As there is usually a dearth
of events I am interested in playing on Monday evening, I bit.
So there I was on Monday evening, well prepared (I thought) for
an expected 24-40 participants for the first heat. I was surprised
when the signup line started growing faster than I could get
folks signed in, and stretched out through the entrance of Ballroom
B. Eventually, 76 players later, almost as many as the entire
field for 2010, we got started! Luckily, the game fits quite
comfortably in its two-hour timeslot, and I had enough score
sheets printed (at least for the first heat) and cards from a
game (Sticheln) that had enough different numbers in four colors
to get people seated fairly quickly at 19 boards with plenty
of time to play.
Among the games in the first heat, Norman Rule got an all-important
win-in-first-heat-played with the highest score in a 4-player
game at 117 points, including a Mistress of Ceremonies (M), an
Observatory (O), and 45 points from nine unique orange cards.
Cliff Ackman barely won his game with 97 points and a 3 ruble
to 0 ruble tiebreaker over Thomas Browne (MO) who got 55 points
for ten unique orange cards. Joel Lytle won his game with 46
points, the lowest winning score in the first round. After the
first heat, all I could tell people about advancing to the semi-final
was that, with 19 entrants already who had won in their first
heat played, that it was extremely unlikely that any non-winners
would advance, and if you didn't win in the first heat you played,
you most likely would need two wins to advance.
Before the second heat on Wednesday afternoon I made sure to
get 20 more score sheets copied from my master copy by the Lancaster
Host staff, and it looked like I was going to need them as 36
players returned joined by 24 new players to make a second heat
of 60. From these 15 games, Kathy Stroh, Randy Buehler, Cliff
Ackman and Joel Lytle each emerged with their second win, Joel
winning with even fewer points (42) than in his first victory,
and Kathy winning on a tie breaker (six rubles to two) over Eric
Monte. Of the other 11 winners, five were first-heat-played wins,
meaning that at this point there were four two-heat winners,
20 first-heat-played winners and six second-heat-played wins.
After this heat I was telling those that asked that for a player
to advance without multiple wins they would probably need a first-heat-played
win plus a good average finishing position for all the heats
(heats that a player didn't play in were counted as finishing
between second and third, or second-and-a-half).
By Thursday morning, with dozens of other events running opposition,
"only" 38 players (ten first-timers and 28 returnees)
appeared for the third heat. The ten games played yielded four
more players (Mark Globus, Tom McCorry, William Hoch, and Charles
Hickock) with a second win, two more a first-heat-played win,
and four players (including the GM) a not-first-heat-played win.
At this point there were eight double winners, 21 first-heat-played
winners, and seven other winners; I started telling folks that
they might need two wins to advance.
For the final heat on Thursday the count was down to 32 players
for an even eight tables. Joel became the only triple winner,
five more players (Marcy Morelli, Pei-Hsin Lin, Norman, Lawrence
Solomon, and Eric Brosius) became double winners, Steve Scott
got a first-heat-played win, and Peter Staab got a not-first-heat-played
win. So after four heats 38 people were "eligible"
for 16 spots in the semi-final.
On Friday afternoon 20 of those 38 appeared for the semi-final:
triple winner Joel, eleven of the 13 double winners (Randy, Cliff,
Tom McCorry, Lawrence, Charles, William, Pei-Hsin, Marcy, Norman,
Eric, and Mark), and eight winners. Of the single-heat winners
Drew DuBoff, Chad Gormly, Ted Bohaczuk, and Jason Levine all
had first-heat-played wins and the best average finishes and
got to advance while the GM (and two-time runner-up) could only
stand around and watch. In the four semi-final games Charles
(MO) beat Joel, Norman (O) and William; Cliff (MO) surpassed
Thomas, Chad and Marcy (O); Mark outscored Pei-Hsin, Lawrence,
and Ted; while Jason (O) won on a 1 to 0 ruble tie breaker over
Randy (M), Drew (MO) and Eric. Randy took fifth place laurels
and Lawrence sixth due to the closeness of their respective defeats.
Jason made a good showing during the Final, picking up 41
points and leading at game end over Cliff with 32, Charles with
24 and Mark with 18. Mark and Cliff gained an extra point for
having 10 rubles remaining, but as usual, it all came down to
unique orange cards. Jason and Cliff gained ten points each for
four orange cards, Mark got 21 for six, but Charles gathered
seven orange cards for 28 points, giving him a total of 52 and
a one-point win over Jason. Cliff was third with 43 and Mark
had 40. It was also Charles first WBC championship since 2002.
I will probably not return as GM for this event in 2012. Things
I would change for next year are counting a heat no-show as the
equivalent of a full loss (to encourage folks to play more heats),
and an (even simpler) score sheet. Also, there was a lot of discussion
about the power of the (especially first-turn) Mistress of Ceremonies.
I would like to hear from people about the possibility of making
the game expansion optional for the tournament next year. The
problem is that there may not be enough copies of the expansion
brought for the number of folks that want to use it. I would
like to hear from people on this question and will send the results
to whoever takes the GM reins in 2012.
Euro Quest Laurelists
Vien Bounma, NJ
Norman Rule, MD
Rodney Davidson, AZ
Randy Buehler, WA
Lori Miskoff, NJ